chris hayes

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Next Lion of New York

Lin-Manuel Miranda was on summer break from college when he learned something about how New York was put together. He was working for a bilingual newspaper started by his father, covering an event called “Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks.” The event, put on by an Irish bar and restaurant in the Dominican neighborhood of Washington Heights, was somewhat misnamed — it featured klezmer and merengue music as well.

For Mr. Miranda, then 20, it was a vision of New York’s disparate cultures not battling one another but jamming side by side. The institutions that endured, he realized, were those that “embraced every wave of immigration that’s come.” Within a few decades, this vision would inform the work that thrust him on the world.

Now, in a more fractious climate, Mr. Miranda is getting ready for his next act. Fittingly, that is a break from the stage.

He and his wife, Vanessa Nadal, had their second child, Francisco, on Feb. 1, inspiring what USA Today declared “a perfect tweet”:

“Int. Hospital Room. Night. [The screams reach a delirious crescendo. FRANCISCO MIRANDA enters. He is 7 pounds and 13 ounces.] Intermission.”

“I’m really looking forward to not going into rehearsal the next day,” Mr. Miranda said in December. “Looking forward to camping out with my family, and hopefully starting some new writing projects. But at least for the first half of 2018 I’ll be home.”

One of his mixtape friends was Chris Hayes, who is now a host on MSNBC. Mr. Hayes rode the bus to Hunter from the Bronx neighborhood of Riverdale, and acted in plays with Mr. Miranda. Mr. Miranda rattled off songs from a mixtape Mr. Hayes gave him in ninth grade, all political songs, from Bob Dylan to the hip-hop group Digable Planets. Mr. Hayes said he and Mr. Miranda both saw themselves as less privileged than many of their classmates, and saw the bus ride uptown as a “literal manifestation” of their apartness.

Years later, when Mr. Hayes saw a very early workshop of “Hamilton,” still unfinished, he was struck by the parallels between the title character and the creator, he said. “Seeing Hamilton was an immigrant, he lives uptown, he’s got this outer-borough-striver chip on his shoulder that Lin and I both had — like, I’m going to show these fancy people I belong — it felt so him,” Mr. Hayes said.

For Mr. Miranda, Inwood is still home, and subways are still part of his travel diet. Last month he joined a successful campaign to save Coogan’s, the Washington Heights Irish bar that celebrated shamrocks and salsa. “Always happy to rep uptown,” he said. On this morning he was just back from London, where a production of “Hamilton” was starting, without him in the cast, and he was preparing to launch a toy drive for Puerto Rico. He has helped to raise more than $20 million for hurricane relief, and promised to bring “Hamilton” to Puerto Rico in 2019, with himself in the title role.

“Since Hurricane Maria, that kind of became my full-time job for a couple months,” he said. Though many relatives have left the island, escaping either the hurricane or the economic collapse that preceded it, others were still there and without power, Luis Miranda said.

As for the changed political climate around “Hamilton,” Mr. Miranda said that was another theme explored in the show. The union that survives the title character at the show’s end is as fractious as the one that buys tickets today. And even in the current era, politicians do not express their differences with pistols.

“Hamilton is outlived by his foes, almost every one of which becomes president,” Mr. Miranda wrote in an email message. “Jefferson, Madison, Monroe (with whom he almost got in a duel), John Quincy Adams.

“We cannot control how the world reacts to our work. We can only control the work itself. So my show is embraced by one administration, not so much by the next.”

History, after all, has room for both visions of America, and neither lasts forever.

“As Vonnegut put it, so it goes,” Mr. Miranda wrote. “That’s time.”

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